Family Portrait Ornaments

Family Portrait Ornaments

I get asked about these guys every year, and every year I say “nope, sorry, maybe next time.” Well, I happened to notice that the last time I said “sure! let’s do it!” was 2009. Six years!

So I thought long and hard about it, and decided that as long as I don’t over-book myself, I should be able to handle doing a batch of them this year.

Now, since I have gotten requests from lots of people over the years, and since I only plan on making a very small number, I want the ordering process to be fair and for everyone to have ample notice before I start accepting orders.

To that end, I have chosen Monday, November 30th (Cyber Monday) as Ornament Day. At Noon (EST) the order form will appear on the ornament page, and will be visible for as long as there are open slots.

22 family ornaments 01

If you’ve ordered ornaments from me in the past, you should know that I’m making one small change to the way they’re made: I will no longer be using doll hair. The ornaments will now be 100% clay, as you can see by my unbaked family above (I made that one in 2012 – time for an update, I think.)

I’m excited to be doing this again, and am hoping I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew, LOL!

If you want to be emailed a reminder on Ornament Day, you can join the mailing list:

I’ll be deleting the list once it has served its purpose, so you don’t have to worry about getting spammed or anything :-)

Thanks for pestering me about this every year, LOL!

TWiP: Single-minded

This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

I usually take care of this post on Friday nights, and so I attempted it as usual last night, only the hotel where we are staying was having internet issues. As in, there was no internet.

So, I spent last night repeatedly refreshing my screen, hoping that I could sneak this post into one small window of connectivity, while at the same time chipping away at a tangled mess of yarn that I needed to fix before I could work on the knitting project I brought with me.

Last night wasn’t exactly frustration-free, but this morning the internet is back (yay!) and I’ll be taking my annual stroll through the Collingswood Farmers Market, followed by some downtown shopping and a cup of delicious-but-overpriced coffee-based beverage. I suspect today will make up for last night.

As for the rest of the previous week? I was seriously single-minded. My work-life balance was a joke. But I enjoyed every minute of it :-) I’ll let the photos do the talking for me…

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot with my DSLR for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2015), plus some phone snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…


Instagram: It’s been a while since I messed around with #polymerclay – hope I end up with something halfway decent 😁

Instagram: Ooh, I think maybe this qualifies as “halfway decent.” I think it’s time to write down what I did so I can do it again with different colors 😀

Instagram: OK, yes. I am very happy with this. Just a few minor details to work out, but I am pretty sure I will be offering custom fancy- handle seam rippers in the shop within the week 😊

365: 2015 318/365 – If you caught any of my Instagram pictures today, you know I did some claying this morning (and this afternoon, but I haven’t shared those images yet). In the past, I’ve used the dining room table for clay work, but I have a new table I don’t want to destroy, and so I moved to the built-in cabinet behind the table. I love the light streaming in here, but that’s about the only advantage of this odd little spot. Zero leg room, and darkness by 4pm are big drawbacks. I might need to come up with something else.


Instagram: Taking a break from polymer clay and working on this. It’s a collaboration with my great grandmother (who I never actually met). She did most of the work 😁

365: 2015 319/365 – I’ll be honest: this afghan cane that I designed a few years ago is a real pain in the neck to assemble. But it really delivers when you slice into it. It’s worth the time and the back ache 😉


365: 2015 320/365 – When the shop re-opens for custom orders later this week, there will be 12 designs to choose from. 10 of them are ready, and the last two are on tomorrow morning’s To Do list.


365: 2015 321/365 – Making weird looking triangles with leftover bits and old canes, so I can tesselate the heck out of them. Kaleisdoscoping scraps, FTW!


365: 2015 322/365 – Now that I have a fancy seam ripper tool at my disposal, I wonder if I will actually do something about this quilt that was supposed to be a gift when my first neice was born (3 years ago)! The stitching came out so bad at the time, I gave up on it and haven’t looked at it since.

Instagram: Ah, low light photography on a crappy phone. It warms the heart. Know what else warms the heart? Drinking coffee, working on the blanket border and watching The Great Train Robbery on Netflix. Happy Wednesday!


365: 2015 323/365 – Weird, I know, but I love the taste of Mint M&M’s and Peanut Butter M&M’s together. I resist the temptation most times, but I gave in at Target this morning. (And I’ve been giving in repeatedly all day, now that the darn things are in my house…)


Instagram: Got my work space all set up for this season’s first batch of custom orders, but I have to leave it behind for the weekend 😔 I want nothing more than to dive right in, but I’m road tripping in less than an hour. I wish I could take all of this with me! *sigh*

365: 2015 324/365 – Another Friday night, another TWiP post being written in a hotel room :-) It’s the last weekend of con season and we’re wrapping it up in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr and/or Instagram.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!


2010-46 2014-47

May I take your order, please?

New crochet hooks at Polka Dot Cottage!

New crochet hooks at Polka Dot Cottage!

I was on such a roll with the millefiori-making for the last several days, but I had to force myself to stop. It was fun, but the longer I spent doing that, the less time there would be left to fill customer orders, and I would hate to short change any of you!

So, like a good little worker bee, I slipped out of my cane-making hat and slipped on my webmaster hat yesterday. I haven’t tried to take custom orders since I redesigned this website last winter, and there were things that needed to be dealt with.

New seam rippers at Polka Dot Cottage!

New seam rippers at Polka Dot Cottage!

It took me all day, but I got it where I wanted it, and today I am happy to invite you to visit the shop and place your custom orders!

All of the old favorites are back, and I’m introducing the new kids on the block: seam rippers!


There are 12 patterns available to choose from this time. Usually, I do nine, but like I said above, I was on a roll 😀

You can request any one of these patterns on any of my products. Or you can have me just pick whichever one I like if you are the indecisive type.

Miscellanous cane designs

Also, there are a handful of random patterns that are either from previous years, or are kaleidoscopic re-workings of older canes and scraps. These may be in very short supply, and can disappear at any time, so they are not listed as options. I will, however, be making use of some of them when I work up some ready-to-ship items, and I’m also willing to use them by request if you see a design you just must have!

Custom ordering will only be open until November 30th -or- until I have as many orders as I can realistically handle before Christmas.

My goal is to get all orders shipped before mid-December, so I must necessarily place limits on the number of pieces I can make. If you have your eye on something, it’s best not to delay!

Please have a look around, and let me know if you run into any trouble, or have any questions!

Sneak Peek

14_polymer_13_ul Jubilee cane in Swamp colors Jubilee cane in Seaside colors

This has been the Weekend of Polymer for me. I came up with a new cane design on a whim, and then repeated it in two more color schemes. I’m going to call this the Jubilee Cane, because it’s just so happy and party-like.

I also made a few new limited edition kaleidoscopic canes, which were basically just old stuff I didn’t want to use anymore, mushed together, cut up, and re-assembled mirror-image style.

Kaleidoscopic cane

As my favorite quote from Judy Belcher attests, “even crap is beautiful tesselated.”

BTW, you can see that I got my hands on a few seam rippers to try them out. I did have one problematic issue, but I hope to have that solved within the week. Stick around for updates on that.

I’m running very low on the popular Afghan Canes, so I made a new one of those today. This is to replace the one I had made previously in my Swamp color scheme, but it’s a little different because I switched clay brands and used straight-out-of-the-package colors instead of the custom mixes I used to use. I think I like it better than the original. These colors seem more swampy than before.

2015 319/365

I’ve got a few more Afghan Canes to make, but they are time-consuming, so it may take me another day or two. I also have an idea for a pattern that is much more subdued than all of these, for those who like their crochet hook and seam ripper handles to be less of a riot of color and pattern.

My goal is to finish up all of the cane-making by tomorrow so that I can get the shop updated with the new patterns and open up custom ordering. I need to get all of this done ASAP so that you can have your orders in time for holiday gift giving!

I’ll be back to let you know when everything is ready :-)